No.166 / Oct 16, 2023
Tanghulu, a Chinese sweet consisting of several sugar or starch syrup coated fruits on a skewer, is currently very popular among the younger generation. Tanghulu’s search volume in delivery applications was found to have increased 47.3 times in July 2023 over January 2023. However, with Tanghulu in vogue, there are social problems.
There are concerns regarding excessive sugar intake. The recommended daily sugar intake is 50g, and the amount of sugar per skewer of Tanghulu is approximately 10 to 25g. The sugar content of Black Sapphire Tanghulu is 24.7g, so if someone eats one, they will eat half the recommended daily amount of sugar. If a large amount of sugar is suddenly consumed, excessive insulin is secreted to lower the blood sugar. Continuous excessive insulin secretion raises the risk of diabetes due to insulin resistance, and the calorie intake increases, increasing the risk of obesity. Recently, “Zero Tanghulu” has appeared due to concerns of excessive sugar intake. Instead of sugar, artificial sweeteners are used. Some experts have also said that it is better to avoid “Zero Tanghulu” as much as possible because it can keep people looking for sweets. The Tanghulu epidemic is also causing problems with waste as the used skewers are thrown away on the street, on road floors, in front of power poles, and in recycled garbage bags. Tanghulu skewers inserted into garbage bags are called Tanghulu Hedgehogs because they are reminiscent of hedgehogs. Street-cleaning workers have complained that even if they wear safety gloves, they may be pricked by long skewers that protrudes through the plastic garbage bags. Although there has always been trash from street food, the amount of trash to be cleaned up has increased due to the trend of Tanghulu. In particular, the sugar in Tanghulu dissolves, attracting bugs, such as flies. As a result, “No-Tanghulu Zones” have appeared. This phrase asks people to refrain from entering a store with Tanghulu. Even in Chinatown in Jung-gu, Incheon, which is known to have been the first to sell Tanghulu in Korea, the number of “No-Tanghulu Zones” is increasing. Cafes, convenience stores, and museums have also banned Tanghulu. Tanghulu stores were placed in an awkward position because of damage to nearby merchants. It is not enough to place a trash can in front of a store and clean the trash with care.
As Tanghulu can cause various health problems, it is necessary to adjust its intake. In particular, children and adolescents, who are in the period when their eating habits are formed, need attention. This is a time for education, both at school and at home. Some argue that regulations are required when Tanghulu is sold around schools. Therefore, addressing these environmental and health problems is essential. Because Tanghulu has various negative aspects, it is necessary to raise people’s awareness so that they can take proper care.
By Park Seo-hyeon, AG Cub Reporter